An increase in influx of children fleeing war

Saturday, May 26, 2018

During the first four months of 2018, 1,500 refugees and migrants entered Bosnia and Herzegovina. In March and April alone, 1,000 new arrivals were registered, revealing the influx of migrants and refugees to BiH. Due to illegal border crossing, the exact numbers are not known. However, the institutions of BiH and the relevant NGOs estimate that there are no less than 5,000 refugees in the country at the moment. In fact, the Ministry of Security estimates that there are at least 70 new arrivals to the country every week.

The current migration route entering BiH is a border crossing in the vicinity of Gorazde and Trebinje. Migrants then move through Sarajevo towards Bihać and Velika Kladuša, towns in the north of the country near the border with Croatia, an EU member. The refugees who reach north of the country are trying to cross into the EU, but they have little success in their intentions, and end up staying in that area longer than they had planned.

In cooperation with international and domestic organizations and informal groups of citizens in BiH, World Vision has actively engaged in supporting these refugees, responding to their basic needs for food and hygiene.

Specifically, our response teams aided a group of 120 migrants and refugees, mostly families with children, by distributing food packages, basic food preparation kits, and diapers. WV BiH also provided a food preparation set for pregnant women, which included fresh food for children up to 5 years old, bottles for nursing babies, and a bottle steriliser to keep them safe. And at the request of the Red Cross, we provided 100 pillows, 30 blankets for adults, 30 blankets for children, clothing, and footwear for children and adults.

200 migrants and refugees, 24 families and 56 children, are currently in the Refugee Centre in Salakovac, located in the south of the country near Mostar. They, too, need urgent help.

In cooperation with international organizations dedicated to the protection of children, World Vision BiH plans to establish a safe area for these children, and a space for mothers and babies in the Refugee Centre, according to the model and minimum standards of Safe Space for Children. The goal of the Safe space for Children is to help those who have survived a traumatic experience by providing a space where they can get the psychological support they need and participate in educational and fun activities.

"It is very important that women and children have a place where protection, privacy, as well as a sense of normality are provided to them," says Almir Zulic, the manager of the Programme for Economic Empowerment and Resilience of Families and Communities at World Vision BiH.

World Vision BiH has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Security on the basis of which, in accordance with needs on the ground, it intervenes in the case of a migrant/refugee crisis and responds to the needs of children and other vulnerable groups.